Dear Mr. Buffett
Dear Mr. Buffett. Thank you for your suggestion that everyone who earns over
$1 million a year patriotically pony up and get taxed a lot more than we already are. Your free advice so generously given should not pass without grateful acknowledgement.
I can't imagine you share Obama's desire to punish the rich regardless of the economic impact of doing so. (Although you may be riddled with guilt over your wealth and how you've made it or spent it I am not.)
But if you're not about punishing the producers for their success, the only other sane explanation - you are sane, aren't you? - is that you have arrived at the conclusion that money is better moved from those who produce it, earn it, invest it in private enterprise and private life to government. You believe government is better able to manage capital and use it for job creation and economic development than are the entrepreneurs, investors, professionals, private citizens who produce it in the first place.
This means, sir, that you judge government more qualified than you to wisely invest capital. Which leads inevitably to the question of why stop at anything less than 100 percent confiscation? Why leave any dollar in the hands of anyone but government?
I suggest we begin with transferring 100 percent of your wealth. You need not wait for law. Just buy yourself an annuity that will provide you with a reasonable but certainly not excessive retirement pension - say $249,999 a year. Then write out a check for everything you have over and above that annuity's price, close your companies, shutter your office, and go sit in the sun and amuse yourself playing bridge. Let the government take over. After all, it's better capable of managing and investing money than you are. Hand the keys to Obama, just as you suggest we should hand him even more of our money. Be a real patriot.
If you refuse, then at least make the disclosure to your Berkshire-Hathaway shareholders that you consider government better able to manage money, invest money, create jobs, and create prosperity than rich guys like you. At least warn them that government is to be trusted more than you, with investments.
Just for the record, I already pay a fortune in federal, state and local income taxes, capital gains taxes on profits from investing what was left after all the income taxes, property taxes as well, and still manage to create jobs. Oh, and man do I save jobs. Bazillions of 'em. Unlike you, I feel abusively over-taxed. After all, the crime of being rich does not warrant me having to pay $10,000 for a bottle of your Coca-Cola while a poor person pays a dime. We both pay the same fair price for the drink.
So I have a different, three part tax proposal: one, cap taxes so that no one individual ever pays more than $250,000 in taxes no matter how much success they produce - $250,000.00 is generous payment for my consumption of government services. Two, make every citizen pay federal income taxes (47 percent do not). Three, shut up. You have become annoying.